Before You Go

Travel Documents & Entry Requirements

Your Passport

Please take a moment to confirm that your passport meets all the requirements

  • It should be in good condition
  • It should be valid for at least 6 months
  • It should have the recommended number of blank pages
  • The blank pages must be labeled ‘Visas” at the top. Pages labeled “Amendments and Endorsements” are not acceptable.

If you need to renew your passport

Contact your local consulate or Embassy or visit their website for information on obtaining a new passport or renewing your existing passport.

Emergency Photocopies

The smartest and easiest security precaution you can take is to carry photocopies of key documents: the photo page of your passport plus any applicable visas, your titinerary, and credit card numbers. Add emergency phone numbers like your credit card company and the number for your travel protection plan. Store copies separate from the originals. This can save your time, money, and bother if your documents are lost during your trip.

Airport Transfers

If you plan on booking your own international flights or arranging with our air department to arrive/depart on an earlier/later date than standard for your program, airport transfers will NOT be included in your program price. Transfers must be purchased separately, as an optional add-on, and are subject to availability.

Health

  • Step 1: Check with the CDC for their recommendation for the countries you’ll be visiting.
  • 2: have a medical checkup with your doctor at least 6 weeks before your trip.
  • Step 3: Pick up any necessary medications, both prescription and over-the-counter
  • Step 4: Have a dental and/or eye checkup.

Yellow Fever Vaccination-Is it required?

Tanzania does not require a yellow fever vaccination if you are arriving in Tanzania from the U.S., Canada, or Europe. This is true for both the mainland and Zanzibar Island.

However, travelers on the pre-trip extension in Kenya will need to bring EITHER proof of a yellow fever vaccination OR an official vaccination waiver in order to meet Tanzania’s entry requirements. This is because you’ll be entering Tanzania from Kenya, which is an endemic country (i.e. known to have yellow fever outbreaks). Tanzania is trying to prevent the spread of yellow fever from Kenya into their Country, which is why they have made this a legal requirement.

TIP: For those travelers making their own air arrangements, the Tanzanian authorities do not consider making a flight connection in an endemic country as “visiting” that country if you stay in the transit area. As long as you don’t leave the airport, Tanzania won’t require the vaccine.

 

For the Kenya Trip Only

If you are taking a trip to Keny, you should discuss the yellow fever vaccine with your doctor. If you and your doctor decide the vaccination is right for you, then he or she will issue you a yellow fever card, also called an International Certificate of Vaccination. This is your proof of vaccination; bring it with you on the trip.

If you and your doctor decide the vaccination isn’t right for you, have your doctor issue an official vaccination waiver. An official waiver is a letter that meets these requirements:

  • It must be on business letterhead paper.
  • It must be signed by a doctor.
  • It must be stamped using the same stamp that the doctor uses on a yellow fever card.
  • It must give the medical reason why you cannot get the vaccine, say how high the risk is, and cite an authority. (For example: Mrs. Smith cannot receive the yellow fever vaccine due to high risk of side effects as outlined in the Center for Disease Control’s guidelines for people over the age of 65.)

Whether you receive a Yellow Fever Card or an official vaccination waiver, keep it on your person (in your backpack or purse) so it is easy to find when you arrive or when you cross the border. You may not show anything at all when you cross the border-it all depends on the local official. But if you are asked, you must be able to produce your Yellow Fever Card OR your waiver.

Medications

Of course, you’ll need to bring an ample supply of any prescription medications you happen to be taking. You’ll also want to talk to your doctor about any medications suggested. In addition, we suggest you discuss:

  • An antibiotic medication for gastrointestinal illness.
  • A pain medication. You might need this in the unlikely event of an injury in a location where medical attention would be delayed.
  • Motion sickness medicine, if you are susceptible. (The roads are very bumpy, and our seat rotation policy means that you will have a turn in the back of the vehicle).
  • The roads can also be very dusty, which can trigger asthma, allergies, or other breathing complaints that may require prescription medications.

Travelling with medications

  • Pack medications in your carry-on bag to avoid loss and have them handy
  • Keep medicines in their original, labeled containers for a quicker security screen at the airport and a better experience if you get stopped by customs while overseas
  • Bring copies of prescription, written using the generic drug name rather than a brand name to be prepared for any unforeseen loss of your medications

Also, keep in mind that not every country has approved every medication. Most major brands are OK, but even some over-the-counter medications are not allowed in other countries

Jet Lag Precautions

You will feel better on the first days of your trip if, shortly before you leave home, you start to adjust to the different time zone of your destination. Since you will cross several time zones to reach your destination, you may lose many hours of regular sleep. You cannot totally avoid jet lag; but you can minimize it. Here’s how:

  • Start your trip well-rested.
  • Begin a gradual transition to your new time zone before you leave or switch to your destination time zone when you get to the plane.
  • Attempt to sleep and eat accordingly to the new schedule.
  • Avoid heavy eating and drinking caffeine or alcoholic beverages right before-and during-your flight.
  • Drink plenty of water and/or juice while flying.
  • Stretch your legs, neck, and back periodically while seated on the plane.
  • After arrival, avoid the temptation to nap.
  • Don’t push yourself to see a lot of your first day.
  • Try to stay awake your first day until after dinner.

Safe Water

Tap water is not safe to drink. We recommend you use only bottled water for drinking and brushing your teeth throughout your trip. During your adventure, you will receive one complimentary bottle of water each day at your lodgings, and during safari days, you will also receive a second complementary bottle of water in your safari vehicle.

Safe Food

The food served at our lodges is safe, including salads and fruits. But exercise more caution when eating at small local restaurants or buying food from street vendors.

Luggage

On safaris, the room allowed for luggage is strictly limited. Your limit is one piece of checked luggage per person. You checked luggage must be in duffle bag. Suit cases of any kind, hard-sided luggage, or luggage with an internal frame are not allowed because your luggage may not fit in the small planes or in the safari vehicles we use. We would like you to have your luggage with you on the whole adventure – so a duffle bag is key.

Carry-on bag

You are allowed one carry-on bag per person. We suggest a small backpack that can be used as both a carry-on bag for your flight and to carry your daily necessities – water bottle, camera etc.

Luggage handling on arrival

Airport porters are now allowed in the customs hall area. On arrival, you must take your luggage off the baggage carousel and then clear customs. When you exit the airport building, your motor coach driver will load your luggage onto your motor coach.

Clothing

Be sure to bring all the warm clothing on our packaging list. You will need at least one heavy wool sweater, as well as a warm fleece jacket in the months of May to November. As you will experience a wide range of temperatures and weather conditions, we suggest several layers of clothing.

Footwear

You may be on your feet a lot during game drives, where you can stand in the vehicle to view wildlife. Bring supportive and comfortable shoes. You might consider light hiking boots for increased ankle support, but sneakers are also fine.

Laundry

Most of our lodges offer laundry service. Prices are reasonable; but dryers are seldom available (so clothing will take longer to dry during the rainy season).

Clothing Colours

We suggest clothing in muted earth tones because they don’t show dirt easily, coordinates well, and don’t distract animals. Very bright colours have traditionally been used to keep animals away, but some species are colour-blind, so if you prefer bright clothing it won’t scare off all animals.

Avoid white clothing because white is a danger signal for some species.

Avoid wearing all black or all blue clothing – these colours attract tsetse flies. This a matter of comfort, not a health concern.

Style Hints

Dress on safari is functional and casual, while being neat and presentable in lodges. Your dress should be modest and conservative.

Traveler’s Checklists

Did you know that the top two comments travelers have about packing are “I wish I had brought less” and “I wish I had thought to double-check the weather”? In an effort to help you bring less, we offer these lists, which have been compiled from suggestion by Trip Leaders and former travelers. The lists are only jumping-off point—they offer recommendations based on experience, but not requirements. You might also want to refer to the climate charts in this handbook or online weather forecasts before you pack. And finally, remember the Golden Rule of Packing Light—whatever you think you need at first—take half the clothes and twice the money.

Recommended Clothing Checklist

  • Shirts: A mixture of short and long-sleeved shirts in a breathable fabric, like cotton or cotton-blend. Polo shirts are more versatile than T-shirts. Even during hotter the months, a few long-sleeve shirts are recommendation by our Trip Leaders to ward off insects that are more active at night.
  • Trousers, jeans or cargo pants: They should be lightweight and dry easily.
  • Walking shorts: Cut long for modesty. Even during the hotter months, you’ll want at least one pair of long trousers or jeans for early morning drives.
  • Shoes and socks: You might be on your feet more than you expect (for example, standing in a parked vehicle to watch game.) Comfortable and supportive shoes are key. You might consider light hiking boots for increased ankle support, but sneakers are also fine. Bring plenty of socks; you may find yourself wishing to change a couple times a day.
  • Rubber-soled sandals or flip-flops for use in the shower.
  • Sweater, sweatshirt, or jacket. Some former travelers have suggested a hooded sweatshirt as a way to combat cool night/mornings with wet hair. (Typically lodges and camps will not have hairdryers.)
  • Light rain jacket/windbreaker with hood, big enough to wear over sweater or jacket.
  • Wide-brim sun hat, and scarf to keep the dust off your hair.
  • Sleepwear: Warm sleepwear is recommended year-round. For example, a t-shirt and flannel pajamas. Even during the hottest months, it can be cool at night; during the winter it can be downright cold at night.
  • Underwear: Although laundry service is available at most of our lodges, underwear will not  be included in this service, so please plan accordingly. (Occasionally one of the lodges will make an exception, but it isn’t something you can rely on.) We suggest close-fitting brassieres, such as sports bras, for women travelers—the road are very bumpy.
  • Optional: Swimsuit for pools, and robe, or cover up.

Seasonal Clothing Recommendations:

For rainy seasons (March to May, November, and December)

  • Rain gear is more critical during these months than at other times of year.
  • If you are planning on washing clothes or having laundry done, clothing will take longer to dry this time of year (dryers are rarely available). Pick fabrics that will dry quickly.

For winter (May-August) or shoulder (August-November), add these items to your list:

  • Polartec fleece jacket (or light insulted parka)
  • Hat and gloves
  • Warm shirts in a heavier material, to layer
  • Warm socks

Other Essential Items

  • Daily essentials; toothbrush, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.
  • Shampoo, soap, and bug spray for the room are provided by the lodges during your trip. (Since the bug spray is for the room, our Trip Leaders still recommend that you bring your own insect repellent.) Most lodges do not provide a washcloth, so you may wish to pack one.
  • Insect repellent. Our Trip Leaders suggest a repellent with DEET because insects are a year-round nuisance. One type of insect you might encounter are tsetse flies, which tend to be more active in the dry season (Jan and Feb) or when it is sunny out, and less of a problem during the rainy season. They are attracted to black and blue, so if you avoid in those colors you might need less repellent.
  • Sunscreen, SPF 30 or stronger.
  • Spare eyeglasses/contact lens; sunglasses with100% UV block.
  • Lightweight binoculars (one pair per person). Model 8 * 21 or 6 * 16 work well
  • Flashlight or headlamp—with extra batteries/bulb—or consider a wind-up or solar powered model.
  • Most lodges/camps will loan you an umbrella, but the large and heavy kind. Some former travelers were fine with using these “loaners” because it saved them room in their luggage; others strongly preferred their own folding umbrella because it was lighter.
  • Moist towelettes or baby wipes, they can be used to freshen up.
  • Packets of pocket-size tissues or small roll of toilet paper.
  • Anti-bacterial “water-free” hand cleanser (aka “hand sanitizer”).
  • Electrical transformer & plug adapters; see “A Word about Electricity” for details. We do not recommend electrical shavers or hair dryers, as electricity is limited at many of our lodges.
  • Camera gear with extra batteries or battery charger.

Medicines

  • Your own prescription medicines.
  • Travel first aid: Band-Aids, headache and pain relief, laxatives and anti-diarrhea tablets, something for upset stomach, maybe a cold remedy, moleskin foot pads, antibiotic cream. Or allergy medication.
  • An antibiotic medication for gastrointestinal illness.
  • Optional: A strong prescription pain medication for rare emergency purposes.
  • Optional: Motion sickness medicine if you are susceptible (the roads are very bumpy).
  • Optional: Medication fir allergies or asthma, if you are susceptible (the roads are also dusty).
  • Optional: Anti-malaria medication—discuss with your doctor first.

Optional Gear

(These are items that other travelers have suggested might be useful, depending on your needs. The extra spaces at the end are for you to add whatever you don’t want to forget)

  • Travel alarm, travel watch with alarm OR cell phone.
  • Hanging toiletry bag (with hook to hang on doorknob and pockets to organize items).
  • Basic sewing kit.
  • Eye drops, for the dusty roads on safari.
  • Hand wash laundry soap (TSA approved size), and maybe clothespins.
  • Inflatable seat cushion for bumpy roads and off-road driving in safari vehicles. Tis may be more useful for someone who has a bad back or hip problems. In the past, some resourceful travelers have reused their inflatable neck cushion for their purpose.
  • Books, phrase book, your own field guide.
  • Travel journal/note pad and pens.
  • Home address book.
  • Photos or post cards from home.
  • Personal repair kit; piece of duct tape, tweezers, small pliers, etc.
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A Word about Electricity

When traveling overseas, there are a few differences to keep in mind about electricity. First, the voltage is usually different. Second, the plugs might not be the same shape. Lastly, the availability of power can vary.

Voltage

Electricity in Kenya and Tanzania in 230-240 volts. In the U.S. it is 110 volts. Most of the things a traveler will want to plug in—battery chargers, MP3 players, tablets or computer—can run off both 110 and 220-240. But you should check the item or the owner’s guide first to confirm this before you plug it in. If you have something that needs 110 volts—like a shaver or a hairdryer—you can bring a transformer to charge the current. (But transformers tend to burn out, so it might be better to leave whatever it is at home.)

Plugs

The shape of plugs will vary from country to country, and sometimes even within a country depending on when that building was built. Different plug shapes are named by letter of the alphabet—Type A, Type B, and so on. Standard U.S. plugs are Type A and B. Tanzania D or G, Kenya G. To plug something from U.S. into a D or G socket you’ll need an adapter that fits between the plug and the socket. Because there are multiple plug types in this region, it may be easier to purchase an all-in-one, universal adapter/converter combo. Versatile and lightweight, these can usually be found at your local electronics goods or hardware stores. Sometimes you can buy them at large retails too. Like target or Walmart. If you forget to bring an adapter, you might also find them for sale at the airport when you arrive at your destination

Availability

In the remote lodges, the generator that supplies electricity may operate during limited hours. It is possible to recharge camera batteries, but only while the generator I running.  Therefore, bringing two batteries—one to use while the other is recharging—is recommended. Electric current is usually adequate to run an electric razor, but not a hairdryer. The lighting at the lodges may not be as bright as you are used to; a small LED flashlight can be useful.

A constant electricity supply cannot be guaranteed during overnight stays. Travelers dependent on electricity supply for health reasons may want to consider a different OAT adventure. Because the tented camps cannot accommodate CPAP machines, this adventure is not recommended for travelers with sleep apnea. Travelers with sleep apnea who chose this adventure must be able to do without their CPAP.

Zanzibar in particular has occasionally experienced difficulties in connecting to the mainland power grid. Although the system has been improved recently, there can be sporadic power outages and power surges on the Island.

Although you may have no trouble with electricity on this, prepare for the worst case scenario and bring things that can be battery operated. Always use new batteries and bring spares.

  1. Learn About Your Destination

We encourage you learn more about the region of the world you will soon be exploring. The ancient and contemporary cultures of these areas are rich and complex. Even a small amount of background reading can help you make sense of the kaleidoscope of facts and impressions that will come your way. Having some knowledge in advance can complement and enrich what you learn from your expert Safari guide.

 

 

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